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A Great Light

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2).

After Israel split into two kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, things went downhill at a rapid rate. The people chased after the gods of the surrounding nations, abandoning the God of their forefathers. They claimed to honor God, but their hearts were far away from Him. They brought upon themselves the punishments God had warned them about in the days of Moses.

But though the people had forgotten God, God had not forgotten them. In the midst of this self-inflicted chaos, God began to send prophets. These prophets urged the people to turn back to God, pleading with them to repent of their sins and follow God’s law with a whole heart. Isaiah was one such prophet. Located in Judah, Isaiah prophesied during a time of great political unrest. He served during the lifetime of four kings, always speaking in dramatic terms of what God was about to do.

Many of Isaiah’s messages are dark and depressing, foretelling future destruction and distress. But hope is interwoven throughout the book. In the middle of Israel and Judah’s open rebellion against God, He sent the first clear prophecies about the coming Savior. Isaiah told of a righteous ruler who would come and rule in a kingdom of perfect peace, a kingdom that would never end, a kingdom where all people would be right with their God.

God’s heart for redemption shines through so plainly! He does not revel in judgment and punishment. He wants His creations to come to Him, to delight in Him. When His people were farthest from Him, it was then that He spoke of His plan to save them.

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